SPRING START-UP: TIPS FOR GETTING YOUR CLASSIC BACK ON THE ROAD
For classic car owners in northern climes, the long wait for spring can be excruciating. The
good news is, it’s almost here. The classic car experts at Hagerty® have put together the
following spring start-up checklist. Take advantage of the time before spring blooms by
prepping your car for its first drive. You’ll both be better for it.
Start with your battery. If it’s been on a trickle charger all winter, disconnect it from the
charger and reconnect the battery. If you simply removed the battery and stored it in a
warmer spot for the winter, time to charge it up.
Check your fluids. Start with a walk around and examine the floor beneath the car. Drips
are common and expected; puddles are not. A fresh oil change is recommended since
water or other fluids may have found their way in your crankcase. While you’re at it, replace
the oil filter. Also check your other fluids – brakes, coolant, transmission, windshield
washer. Do they look dirty? Are they at the recommended level? Smell your transmission
fluid. If it smells burnt, change it. Generally speaking, if you can’t remember the last time
you drained and flushed any particular fluid, it’s probably time to do it again. As for
gasoline, your car should be good to go if you put STA-BIL in the gas tank before storing
your car. If not, you might consider adding a water-absorbing product or – if you’re really
worried about it – drain the tank.
Check your belts and hoses for cracks and decay. Since rubber breaks down over time,
examine the condition of your tires. Make sure they’re inflated to the correct air pressure,
and remember the spare.
In addition to potentially damaging your engine, water can cause brake problems as well. If
your car has been sitting for a while, consider bleeding your brakes. They should feel firm
when you push the pedal.
By this point, you should already know if any mice spent a comfortable winter in or around
your engine. Also check inside the passenger compartment, especially under the seats
and in the glove box. And one last thing – check the headlights, turn signals and brake
lights. Yes, this requires a friend’s help.
It’s finally time to start your car. If you’re just testing the engine, make sure an exit door
is open enough to allow exhaust fumes to escape. If the weather allows for a drive, make
that first one fairly short – a half hour or so should put the car through its proper paces. And
before you take drive No. 2, do the ol’ walk-around again. No major leaks? Tires look
good? Let ’er rip, and have a great summer.